2011 offers a surplus of value pick closers. Here are 10 closers you need to eye in your fantasy draft for the best value for your pick, in no particular order. ADP statistics provided by www.mockdraftcentral.com.
Craig Kimbrel, Atl – ADP: 282. Kimbrel is going on average in the 24th round. We are talking about the flamethrowing Atlanta Braves closer. A Braves closer should never go that late in the draft. Steal him in the 18th or 19th round and get your 30-plus saves.
Jason Motte, StL – ADP: N/A. OK, so Motte isn’t the St. Louis Cardinals' closer yet. I stress yet. The Cardinals haven’t re-signed Ryan Franklin beyond this year and even Dave Duncan knows that Motte is ready to close. It’s just a matter of time before he takes over. Use a late pick for Motte and you will be very happy.
Andrew Bailey, Oak – ADP: 146. Bailey is coming off a year of injuries and inconsistency. His draft value hasn’t dropped as much as expected, but his value as the Oakland A’s closer makes him a better value then Mariano Rivera, who’s being drafted 80 picks earlier. Get Bailey in the 12th round and you’ll be strong in your bullpen from that point on.
Matt Thornton, ChW – ADP: 273. There is no guarantee that Thornton will hold the closer position all year with Chris Sale gunning for the job. Still, Thornton is going in the 23rd round on average and that makes him a steal. Not only for possible saves, but for the fact he is the closer for now and he gets mad strikeouts. Take Thornton a few rounds earlier to be safe, like the 17th or 18th.
Drew Storen, Was - ADP: 230. Storen is looking at a great season. With the Washington Nationals rebuilding, they should provide plenty of opportunity to get saves. While there is plenty of risk with the young Nationals closer, he is more than capable of getting 25-30 saves and worth a pick in the 19th or 20th round. Heck, take him in the 16th and you’ll be fine.
Joe Nathan, Min – ADP: 264. Wow, how the mighty have fallen. If you’ve given up on Mighty Joe Nathan, think again. He should be ready to go for the start of the season and I do not see the Minnesota Twins handing the ball over to Matt Capps with Nathan ready. Currently his ADP places him in the 22nd round. If you pass on Nathan after the 15th round, you are simply crazy. Certainly monitor his status, but as long as everything is going well, Nathan will close for the Twins, even if it isn’t in early April.
J.J. Putz, Ari – ADP: 145. Putz could be one of the best closers in 2011 for his draft value. It depends on how the Arizona Diamondbacks perform, but they really can’t do worse than last season. Putz is going in the 13th round and that is just about right. There is no secret in his ability. My recommendation is to get him there.
Chris Perez, Cle – ADP: 175. Perez will be exciting to watch this season as he matures into an elite closer. The Cleveland Indians will be a much better team in 2011 and Perez is a candidate to break 40 saves. We saw him dominate late last season and I have no doubt it will carry over. His ADP is putting him in the 15th round. He would be a stellar 13th or 14th-round pick.
Brandon League, Sea - ADP: 491. He is the Seattle Mariners' closer and he’s barely getting drafted. His ADP has him in round 41! While he has consistency issues, League continues to mature year after year and, if given the closer job, he will lock it down. David Aardsma likely won’t be ready to start the season and if League is pitching well, he will keep the job as the future closer for the Mariners. If he’s there late in your 26 or 30-round draft, take him.
Jonathan Broxton, LaD - ADP: 243. Last year’s No. 1 closer has fallen to the 21st round. Am I drunk? Broxton battled many problems last year, both physical and mental. He will be the opening day closer for the Los Angeles Dodgers and will be fine. If he’s still in your fantasy draft come the 15th round, you’d be crazy not to take him. The Dodgers have new management, new attitude and a healthy closer ready to regain his dominance.
Frank Francisco, Tor – ADP: 469. We’ve all been talking about it. The Toronto Blue Jays traded for Francisco for one reason: to close. Yes, they have Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch. Neither are as good as Francisco. He’s basically being disrespected by fantasy owners by getting drafted around the 469th pick. Take him in round 20 and get your steal closer.
Read more at www.thecloserreport.com
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